The first time we heard of the vanity tax reform bill was in January, with a lawmaker proposing additional taxes for beauty products and procedures in place of fuel. It was faced with widespread criticism, so much that the representative who proposed it changed his mind shortly after. The issue quieted after that, but resurfaced when the proposed Tax Reform for Accelaration and Inclusion (TRAIN) included a section that was eerily similar.
Under Section 30 of TRAIN, it says that a 20% tax shall be levied on cosmetic surgeries and lottery winnings to increase government revenues. This covers procedures and surgeries done for "aesthetic reasons," which were classified as "non-essential goods" in the bill. It is also rumored that even non-invasive treatments like facials and lasers will be included in the tax hike. On the other hand, reconstructive surgeries for restoring bodily functions are exempted.
While this may not necessarily be good news to some, recent developments might soften the blow. Yesterday, Inquirer reported that the senate had agreed to decrease the proposed 20% vanity tax. It was due to a compromise met by Senate President Ralph Recto, who originally advocated removing the provision from the tax measure, and Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, who was opposed to doing so.
"We raise an objection on the proposal to totally delete the vanity or cosmetic tax because it is, in our view, totally unjust and violates the principle of progressive taxation," said Sen. Drilon. He then proposed making the additional tax 10% instead of the original 20. Sen. Recto moved to further decrease it to five, but the minority leader held his ground. In the end, an agreement to impose a 10% vanity tax was met.
The tax reform bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives but is still pending further approval.